Wednesday, January 24, 2024

New sounds: 24/1/24

English Teacher - Albert Road
At last, an album is on the way, This Could Be Texas due April 12th. Heralded by Lily Fontaine's magnificent quote "I want this album to feel like you’ve gone to space and it turns out it's almost identical to Doncaster", this single is them in contemplative mode narrating small town life slowly building in intensity towards something beatific. This band might just be becoming the best of us all.

Bolis Pupul - Spicy Crab
We were hopelessly late to the Belgian musician and Soulwax protege's 2022 collaboration with Charlotte Adigery, like they could care what a bedroom blogger with double figure readership thinks given how critically successful it was and how successfully they carried off its live energy. Now on his own for the first time Letter To You, due 8th March, has already been trailed by the superior synthpop of Completely Half, now followed by a driving instrumental of part-Moroder part-Glass shifting electronic loops and glissando keyboard patterns towards an acid breakdown.

Tomato Flower - Saint
The Baltimore band supported Animal Collective on tour off the back of two 2022 EP's and while not that oblique themselves the influence of Stereolab's more pop-facing moments shines through amid lightly jangling guitars and the kind of oblique tripping-itself-up clatter we've heard in the past from English Teacher, especially at the end when the rhythm section fall down the stairs behind Austyn Wohlers' reaching for the stars vocals. Album No is also out 8th March.

Arab Strap - Bliss
Their second "reformation" album, out May 10th, is called 'I'm totally fine with it 👍 don't give a fuck anymore 👍'. They may finally have reached their final form. As for the song it's Arab Strap, electro-beats version, Aidan reversing on some of his previous implied attitude in exploring the world of machismo and misogyny.

Slow Fiction - Apollo
Brooklyn's Slow Fiction have been around for a couple of years and look set to be fast-tracked by new label So Young Records (Lime Garden, Folly Group, Gently Tender) into a space they belong in, one of explosiveness and quiet-loud crunchiness like a Wolf Alice who can afford to let go more readily, almost anthemic without pandering to festival crowds or anything so craven.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

New sounds: 18/1/24

Adrianne Lenker - sadness as a gift
Big Thief are taking a calendar year off, so obviously Buck Meek immediately released a solo album and Adrianne has one, Bright Future, out on March 22nd. Just to make it more confusing the band have been playing this live since April 2022. (They do this - there's an Adrianne's Version of Vampire Empire on the album and indeed when we saw them on last April's tour they opened with a song called Bright Future that doesn't appear to be on the album) Whatever, it's a heartaching beautiful countrified lament that alongside Ruined bodes excellently.

Lutalo & Claud – Running
Meanwhile Adrianne's cousin Lutalo Jones, whose 2023 album Again showcased a superior form of kinetic politicised bedroom indie, has teamed up with someone else who has a left of bedroom-indie-centrist approach and a celebrity lifter (Phoebe Bridgers signed Claud for Saddest Factory) for a synth-layered insistent story of strained interpersonal relationships with a hint of summer. Yeah, we know.

Jane Weaver - Perfect Storm
It feels a little like Weaver's trademark twisted take on electro-psych-pop is leaning more towards the last element on this from another newly announced album, Love In Constant Spectacle out April 5th being her twelfth, with its big direct pop song structure and lush major key chorus embedded within her usual dreamy, intrinsically melancholic in a spaced-out way approach. How much of this is the pushing of producer John Parish wouldn't be fair on Weaver to speculate as between the retro-futurist flourishes, motorik rhythm and arpeggiating synths this is very much her vision.

Holiday Ghosts - Sublime Disconnect
Falmouth's Holiday Ghosts have been ploughing their garage-surf furrow for a while now, Coat Of Arms due March 29th being their fifth album. They've definitely streamlined what they do in that time, the first single sporting a thrusting chorus, play-dumb insistent riff, Kat Rackin's staccato venting on place and identity and ba-ba-bas in its only just over two minutes second length. And most importantly: singing drummer!

Monday, January 15, 2024

New sounds: 15/1/24

Murder Club - Pictures Of Myself
You may have seen that the Newport 'sugarpunks' are coming round ours in just under seven weeks' time for the Leicester Indiepop Alldayer (tickets long since sold out, soz); what we haven't had from them is any new music since their Sour Candy EP in February 2022. That's changing soon with a second EP, a concept one at that, Night Out describing the titular event starting with the preparation phase, delivered in the kind of melodically classic indiepop, twee as they used to call it if they were particularly brave, that has the kind of semi-buried edge that Peaness fans will recognise. Heavenly do-do-do's too.

Dancer - Passionate Sunday
For a group made up of members of several longer established Glasgow bands Dancer are hella productive, two EPs in quick succession last year being followed on March 15th by an album, 10 Songs I Hate About You. The first cut starts pensively before striking out with an angular, strident bassline, Gemma Fleet actually singing this time around and a yo-yoing synth line that presumably comes from that synthpad contraption those who've seen them live knows the guitarist straps onto his instrument. Splendid.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

New sounds: 10/1/24

We've started a rolling Spotify playlist of everything featured on here this year

Julia Holter - Spinning
Holter's sixth album Something In The Room She Moves, out 22nd March, has already been heralded by the shards of light in Sun Girl; now she finds a weird circularity, a looping percussive glitch around which winds plenty of intricate detail between synths to colour in the corners, woodwind flourishes, cymbal splashes, odd little noises seemingly from the mental image woodlands and Holter's elliptical appeals.

Chemtrails - Bang Bang
We've been writing about Mia, Laura and friends' psych-garage doomscroll rush, and put them on twice, that we fully expect you to be fully across everything they do by now. But just in case... the last single from The Joy of Sects, released 19th January, might actually be the most approachable thing they've done by their own terms an authentically grimy glam stomper with sinister motives aforefront, described by themselves as "from the point of view of a bragging crypto bro".

Enabling Behaviour - Stressor
"Overtly pretentious and emotionally sterile, Enabling Behaviour are probably the most overrated band you've heard all year... their sound has been described as "unbearable noise" by their neighbours - but don't let that put you off, because they need the ticket sales to afford their extravagant and hedonistic lifestyles." Oh, cheers, guys. Yes, the Cardiff ace band factory has whirred its cogs once more and deposited... well, a band who formed in Falmouth, actually, but after a handful of singles in the last two years their emergence to our ears finds them brooding like nobody's business before taking off with the kind of vaulting guitar sounds that both skewer and threaten to make the notion of dreampop worthwhile once more around Liz Allison's part-whispery, part-Rachel Goswell-y vocals.

Stuart Pearce - Nuclear Football
Not that one. We mean, obviously not that one. The possibility of him putting out high quality music in 2024 is remote. No, this is Stuart Pearce the agit-post-punk band from Nottingham, with more than a little early Fall about them but who hasn't these days - actually the Nightingales might be a more accurate comparison, with added radar detection synth and a frantic hair trigger about their politicised compactness.

Dana Gavanski - How To Feel Uncomfortable
We've long admired Gavanski's expansive take on indie-folk so news third album LATE SLAP, out April 5th, was produced by Tunng/LUMP's Mike Lindsay promises much. The first track... well, it sounds quite a lot like Cate Le Bon, which might be as much in the sax parps as the phrasing.

They Hate Change - Wallabies & Weejuns
If anything helped serve to demonstrate End Of The Road's edge away from the alt-Americana that made its name it was the spectacular, energetic for an early afternoon packed Big Top set by the Floridian experimental rap/production duo, swapping hard-edged rhymes over Miami bass by way of British club sounds. The advance track from their Wish You Were Here​.​.​. EP, out 26th January and with a blurb that both explains its inspiration from their transatlantic travels and a shout-out to Greggs breakfasts, is produced by Sheffield/Manchester experimentalist 96 Back and traverses the beats through a d'n'b breakdown and out onto the R&B floor.

Monday, January 08, 2024

New sounds 8/1/24

My Best Unbeaten Brother - Slayer On A Sunny Day
Remember how we wanged on for years about Superman Revenge Squad, Ben Parker's wry and far too close to the bone at times solo project? And then when their album posthumously came out Nosferatu D2, Ben Parker's dynamic preceding duo with remarkable drummer brother Adam? Well, Ben's back recording for the first time since 2015 and the pair have got together with a third member in Ben Fry to deal in not dissimilar and therefore excellent waters, propulsive, heartfelt and philosophical in its awkward charge.

James Jonathan Clancy - I Want You
And another old favourite - we've been long-time supporters of a lot of the music Canadian born but for as long as we've known about him Bologna based Clancy has released in various forms. His first record under his birth name, inspired by the "apocalyptic pastoralism" of comic artist Michelangelo Setola, slips between retro-futurist detuning VHS synths, bucolic ambient folk, Scott Walker avant-garde and on this track a skyscrapingq quasi-spiritual psych-folk reminiscent of John Martyn circa Solid Air getting stranded in space.

Lilith Ai - Burner Phone
One of the stars of this year's Leicester Indiepop Alldayer returns by reframing her intensely personal songs into scrappy garage rock, swiping most of the Hate To Say I Told You So riff for something that could have come out of a mid-west basement in the early 90s as a means of singing about resilience, or as she puts it "conquering fear of showing up as yourself". Oh, what's this?

Buck Meek - Beauty Opens Doors
No sooner have Big Thief announced a year-long hiatus then both their main songwriters head straight out solo, with Adrianne Lenker's album rumoured for early spring and Meek releasing a fluttering prairie country offcut from August's Haunted Mountain album that's better than most of what made it onto the tracklisting.

Ricardo Autobahn - The Hands Of Porsche
It's now a good quarter of a century since Autobahn started mining the intersection of sampling, Eurodance beats and unashamed strain of novelty with the Cuban Boys, then being the power behind Daz Sampson's throne, being half of synth-pop post-ironists Spray, taking the synths in Helen Love, joining up with normal man Phil Fletcher to form TV theme cover duo the Pound Shop Boys and in all likelihood a thousand other things we've missed. This time around, from a forthcoming concept album (obviously), 1960s corporate fast car speak gets the cut-up treatment.

Thursday, January 04, 2024

Trailing in late from 2023

Project Overload - Second Chances
Project Overload - Moving Mayhem
See, this Coventry five-piece who release their debut album New Beginnings on the 19th is the kind of thing people should really have flocked to tip us off at the time (er, November) about given they deal in the kind of bright janglepop with sharp elbows that feels very redolent of post-C86 or the Blonde Movement bands while surely too young to know what exactly those mean.

Jim Nothing - Raleigh Arena
Well, why not make a record about the joy of cycling in this day and age? Especially one that like the Auckland singer-songwriter flirts with psych-rock in several of its forms, switching seamlessly between stratospheric guitar pyro and synth-motorik.

Thorn Dells - Surface
Staying in New Zealand - Dunedin, in fact - for more synths and steady rhythms but of a very different type, layering on the threatening electro that slowly closes its iron claw around you. Those who follow the Sink Ya Teeth diaspora or Shelf Lives may find much to fascinate.

Blanket Approval - You Think It's Funny
They're from New York, and in a funny not-too-cool-for-you way it shows. They have things to say to the wrong people and a synth-lifted, strident quasi-Throwing Muses nerviness where the vocals come in at strange angles helping take it from stomping to jangling to cresting.

VIAL - ur dad
103 seconds of hooky, spiky, brattiness overload punk-pop, a genre that we're fully awareness is almost as debased as a genre term as dreampop these days but this is as they would have understood it in its original form. And yes, the Minneapolis trio want *your* dad.